Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

Dr. Kenny Burdine


The thesis presented consists of two essays that analyze input substitution and decision making in crop and livestock production systems. The first essay consists of a whole-farm analysis that sought to optimize feed mixes and enterprise combinations for an organic dairy operation in the Southeastern United States. This was accomplished through mathematical programming where whole-farm net returns were maximized, and total feed costs were minimized simultaneously for four milk production level cases. Additionally, the sensitivity of the system and break-even milk price were explored. Results suggest substitutability in ration components where an increase in supplemental feeds is justified by additional milk output and sales. The second essay utilizes econometric methods and hedonic modeling to explore factors that drive the price of row crop planters on the used machinery market. Factors relating to make, age, condition, planter specifications, sale type, spatial aspects, seasonality, and year of the sale were analyzed. Results suggest non-linear relationships for row number and age relative to price and interactions between variables make and age that imply varying depreciation depending on the manufacturer. An additional break-even analysis relating to pasture yields and planter purchase price was conducted to explore these primary concepts in further detail.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Develop Science-based Recommendations to Efficiently Manage Forages, Herd Health, and Productivity on Organic Dairies in the Southeastern US. NIFA-OREI Grant 2015-51300-24140.